I Prefer to Say, “I Borrow Ideas” Instead of, “I Steal Them”

12 Jul

I Heart RSSHi, my name is Catherine and I am a blog-o-holic.  I was keeping my habit under control in the early years, but then I learned about an enabling device called an RSS ReaderAfter that, it was like a switch was flipped and I could not stop myself from clicking on that little orange ‘Subscribe to This Feed’ icon.  Someday I will post a love letter here to RSS and why I continue to prefer it over Facebook and Twitter for keeping up with my feeds (Did someone say, ‘Twitter’?  Follow me at my brand new @zbeforey account on Twitter!) .

In all, I subscribe to about 250 blogs.  They cover current events, crafting, sports, technology, music, and libraries- most notably blogs about children’s services in libraries.  I follow a number of book review blogs, and I like them fine, but the professional feeds that really make my heart go a-thump-a-ta, thump-a-ta are the slice-of-life/how-to-negotiate-the-public-service-trenches blogs, especially when they have program ideas.  In this post, I want to turn the spotlight on three blog posts where I found program ideas that I (ahem) procured for my own use, and that are now indispensable pieces of my repertoire.  As you’ll see, none of these ideas were the focus of the post, but instead smaller elements of a larger post.

1.  Way Up in the Sky (via Library Noise)

I remember learning this song when I was 11 years old at Girl Scout camp, but it was Jennie at Library Noise (who, sadly, hasn’t posted since January) who re-introduced me to the little wonder  To this day, I include it in EVERY single baby and toddler storytime I do (I have documentation to prove it).  There is practically nothing more entertaining to the under-2 set than to hammer out, “The. Dew. Falls. Away” in a really low voice.  Never heard of ‘Way Up in the Sky?’  The video below portrays best portrays the way I sing it:

2.  A’Hunting We Will Go via (via Mel’s Desk)


Babies & Books is my favorite storytime program, without a doubt.  When I plan a session, I often choose books that are about farm animals, jungle animals, zoo animals, etc. and the sounds they all make.  Buried in this post from three years ago in Mel’s Desk, I found an idea to build on these animal stories by re-visiting a handful of pages and adapting them to the song ‘A’Hunting We Will Go’.  I used it earlier this week.  First I read Yawn by Sally Symes and then sang the song using:



pig/wig (a nod to John Langstaff’s, Oh, A-Hunting We Will Go)

cat/make him sing in A flat (singing the word ‘flat’ flatter than a pancake being run over by a monster truck)

I  have also memorized many of the excellent and to-the-point early literacy tips for parents and caregivers that Melissa inserts so effortlessly into her programs.  Mel’s Desk really is a treasure trove for anyone doing storytime for pre-readers.  Take a look at it.

3.  List of Dances by Jim Gill (via Abby (the) Librarian)

Abby gets full credit for making me aware of Jim Gill in a Spring Storytime post she wrote last year.  I don’t know how the guy escaped my radar for so long.  His songs are folksy, bouncy, and filled to the brim with gentle humor and audience interactivity.  I have several Jim Gill songs queued up in my iPhone.  However, it’s List of Dances, the mother-song I discovered in Abby’s post, that I turn to again and again and again.  Like Abby, I wrote out the names of the dances on a poster, and channeling Mel’s Desk, I like to point out to parents and teachers that reading signs, labels, and posters is an easy literacy exercise they can do when they are out and about with their children.  Mr. Gill released a video of List of Dances a few months ago, which you can watch below.  It’s a good song, amirite?

I’ll reach out to Jennie, Mel, and Abby personally and let them know how much I appreciate these particular gifts.  Before I do that, though, I want to transmit a big, glittery…


to ALL of you bloggers out there- for the inspiration you bring to your readers, your resourcefulness, your insight, and laying bare your ideas and what makes you tick..  Keep doing what you do, online superstars.  Your followers ARE  paying attention.



2 Responses to “I Prefer to Say, “I Borrow Ideas” Instead of, “I Steal Them””

  1. magpielibrarian July 12, 2013 at 8:22 pm #

    I like to refer to the book “Steal Like an Artist” when I “borrow” from bloggers (it makes me feel much better about it). I also think commenting on blogs and/or emailing bloggers that you appreciate is a nice way to say thanks. Sometimes it feels like you’re blogging in a vacuum, especially in the beginning.

    • zbeforey July 12, 2013 at 8:31 pm #

      I don’t feel guilty about using ideas others post online. They post them in the spirit of sharing and making the lives of their fellow colleagues easier. I just believe we have to be as scrupulous as we can about giving credit where credit is due (and Ms. Magpie, you are definitely someone who gives others their props when they have earned them).

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